Ashtanga yoga moon day

Crescent moon. Image obtained from Wikimedia.org
Crescent moon. Image obtained from Wikimedia.org

Today was a ‘moon day’ for ashtanga yoga practitioners. It reminds me of the time when I was in India practicing at 5am six days a week, unless, of course, there’s a moon day.

This is a detail in ashtanga yoga practice that I have always been fascinated with. Mostly because we are not supposed to practice on moon days – the good days when I can ‘sleep in’ until 7am, but also because I am very curious to know why.

There are several websites describing the reasons, and Tim Miller’s article probably explained it best. Apparently, our energy levels fluctuate with the cycles of the moon. During a new moon, which was today, our energy levels are at a low point, so naturally, we should rest and recover our strength. During a full moon though, our energy levels are too high and we can over-exert and injure ourselves, so we should avoid practice.

Obviously that’s not a good enough explanation for a scientist, however much sense it makes. I did notice that at the height of my yoga practice, sometime in March, my energy levels during practice varied. You would imagine that at the end of a six-day practice week, I would be wiped out. On the other hand, if there was a moon day to break up the practice week, I would probably do better with the extra day’s rest. Not true at all. That said, I don’t know how much of that is psychological or if there are any other factors that might possibly affect the result, but that only strengthens the argument for the need to have hard evidence.

It is also important to bear in mind that this probably only applies to regular yoga practitioners who have been and are practicing daily because yoga has made them more aware of their bodies than most non-practitioners.

Anyway, it would also be super cool if the moon day theory can be proved scientifically, and then we have an argument for making moon days additional official rest days worldwide. That’s like having an extra day off every other week! But for now, it’s a good excuse for putting off practice.

Happy moon day, ashtangis worldwide!